Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island’


Pegasus statues from the Coney Island Pumping Station were removed to the Brooklyn Museum’s Sculpture Garden for safekeeping in 1980. Photo © Charles Denson via coneyislandhistory.org

Your last chance to submit public comments to save the long neglected Coney Island Pumping Station designed by Chanin Building architect Irwin Chanin is just three days away. The city-owned building on Coney Island Creek would be Coney’s only landmark outside of the amusement area, which has six official city landmarks–The Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump, the two former Childs Restaurant buildings, and the former Shore Theater.

Prior to the Landmarks Preservation Commmission’s October 8, 2015 public hearing to address a backlog of calendared buildings, the LPC is asking speakers to register in advance and submit written statements by October 1st. The email address for comments is backlog95@lpc.nyc.gov. If you are unable to attend the hearing, your written submissions will be entered into the record and distributed to the Commissioners, according to the LPC’s website. A link to a pdf with information about the hearing, at which 29 buildings are on the agenda, is here.

If the Coney Island Pumping Station wins designation, the Pegasus statues, which were removed to the Brooklyn Museum’s Sculpture Garden for safekeeping 35 years ago, could return in triumph to their Coney Island home. After being proposed for landmark designation in 1980, the building was to be mothballed and protected for future use, according to a 1981 article in The Society for Commercial Archaeology News Journal.

Coney Island Pumping Station

Coney Island Pumping Station designed by architect Irwin S. Chanin, whose works include the Century and Majestic apartment houses and the Chanin Building

However, the city proved unable to protect the building from vandals who removed the nickel silver, steel, aluminum and granite trim, and chiseled away at the facade and the winged horses at the building’s entrance. “In an attempt to protect the sculpture from further vandalism, Charles Savage, director of the Commission’s salvage program, managed to have them removed to the Brooklyn Museum for safekeeping. Local press applauded the preservation of this portion of the so-called ‘off-beat Coney Island landmark.’”

Decommissioned as a fire pumping station in 1976, the long vacant structure is listed as a “non-residential structure with no use” in the database of city-owned property. Nothing ever came of a plan reported by the NY Times in 1990 to spend $23 million to revive the structure to connect two wings of transitional housing for homeless families.

“Numerous proposals have surfaced recently to repurpose the building for community usage including as a Coney Island ferry terminal, ecology center, or museum,” writes Charles Denson on the Coney Island History Project’s blog in a plea to save the building for future generations. “The Art Deco structure was unusual for Coney Island and much different than most municipal structures which were commonly utilitarian and devoid of ornamentation. Chanin commissioned a pair of winged horse sculptures for the entrance to the elliptical limestone and granite Moderne structure, creating a magnificent monument amidst Coney’s ephemeral landscape.”

In addition to submitting your comments to the Landmarks Preservation Commission by October 1st, we urge you to sign and share the Art Deco Society of New York’s petition to landmark the Coney Island Pumping Station, which will be submitted to the Commission.

Coney Island Pumping Station

Coney Island Pumping Station, Neptune Avenue. July 18, 2014. Photo © Charles Denson via coneyislandhistory.org

Related posts on ATZ…

May 4, 2015: Boardwalk Bunco: Milan Expo’s USA Pavilion Has Boardwalk from Coney Island, Brooklyn to Get Plastic & Concrete

April 13, 2015: Video of the Day: Century-Old Forest Park Carousel Awhirl After Off-Season Overhaul

March 11, 2015: In Coney Island, Two Stores and One NYC Landmark Mark 95th Year

November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places

Read Full Post »

Kite Aerial Photography Coney Island

Kite aerial photography at last year’s kite festival in Coney Island. Photo © Ron Marcisak

The beach belongs to kite flyers this weekend! On Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, from 9:30am – 5pm, you can go fly a kite or buy a kite and learn to fly it on the beach between West 10th Street and Stillwell Avenue. Professionals and amateurs will be flying one line, dual line, and quad line kites. The annual event is free and all ages are welcome to participate or spectate.

If you go, you’ll want to take photos of the colorful sea creature-shaped kites in the sky. In past years, we’ve seen a green octopus with flowing tentacles, a giant crab, schools of tropical fish, and a scuba diver. These photos were shot at last year’s festival by Ron Marcisak, one of the organizers of the New York Kite Aerial Photography Meet-up Group.

Coney Island Kite Festival

Coney Island Beach at start of last year’s kite festival. Photo © Ron Marcisak

This weekend is also the Coney Island Hot Rod and Tattoo Show at Coney Island USA and the 34th Annual Great Irish Fair at MCU Park. The rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park are open weekends and holidays through November 1st.

Though the beach is now closed for swimming, sunbathing is allowed and encouraged. Says photographer Ron Marcisak of his photo shown below: “NO PHOTOS PLEASE. See the beach bag? Ironic?”

Kite aerial Photography

Kite aerial photography at last year’s Coney Island Kite Festival. Photo © Ron Marcisak

Read Full Post »

On Saturday, Zamperla’s much-anticipated new Enterprise-style ride, called the Endeavor, is expected to make its public debut in Coney Island, sources tell ATZ. Its inaugural spin is set to coincide with the visit of 400 amusement industry professionals attending Amusement Today‘s 18th Annual Golden Ticket Awards hosted this year by Zamperla at Luna Park and Central Park’s Victorian Gardens.

The prototype ride is already set up on West 15th Street and being inspected by the City’s ride inspector in advance of the weekend. On Wednesday, ATZ friend and beach-goer Eliot Wofse caught the Endeavor going for a test spin in the above video. If the ride looks familiar, the Enterprise was a fave at Coney Island’s Astroland from the 1970s until the early 2000’s when it was sold to New Jersey’s Casino Pier.

The Endeavor has been on Luna Park Coney Island’s map –”Coming Soon! Get ready for an experience that is out of this world” — since the park opened this spring. Sources tell ATZ the prototype has already been sold to a park in warmer climes, where it will go after an initial few weeks of operation in Coney Island. Another Endeavor will be sent to Luna Park in time for its 2016 season, the source said. This year, Luna Park is celebrating its fifth anniversary season with five new rides. The park, which has 29 rides, is also a showroom for Zamperla’s rides, 26 of which were manufactured by the Vicenza, Italy, ride manufacturer.

Zamperla Endeavor

The Endeavor, Zamperla’s new Enterprise-style ride, awaiting its debut at Luna Park. September 7, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The Golden Ticket Awards is a two-day private event known as the Oscars of the amusement industry. The public can watch the Golden Ticket Awards Ceremony, which is being held at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, via an online simulcast beginning at 7:30pm on September 12 at this YouTube link. The ceremony will include Broadway-style entertainment produced by RWS & Associates and the presentation of awards to winners in 40 categories such as “Best Park,” “Most Beautiful Park,” and “#1 Steel Coaster.” At 10:30pm, the event’s big finale will be a fireworks show viewable from the Coney Island Boardwalk, according to Amusement Today. The City has issued a permit for a fireworks display for 9:30pm. The event is weather permitting, of course.

“The unique location of Coney Island is sure to add its own flavor to the event,” Tim Baldwin, Amusement Today‘s Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator, told ATZ. “It will be our largest attendance yet of around 400 industry professionals from around the globe. Attendees are coming from numerous countries that include Sweden, The Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Ireland and more.”

In the meantime, enjoy this spin back in time on Astroland’s Enterprise.

Related posts on ATZ…

August 19, 2015: Battery Park’s SeaGlass Carousel Goes for Its First Spin

May 28, 2015: Coney Island Openings & Closings: Power Surge, Arcade, Rainbow Shops, Vintage Shooting Gallery

April 10, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Power Surge and Enterprise-Style Ride Set for Comeback

March 3, 2015: Coney Island 2015: The Whip Returns with a NASCAR Twist

Read Full Post »

HBO VINYL Coney Island

HBO’s Vinyl brought this portable Ferris Wheel to Thor Equities lot on 12th Street. Photo © Charles Denson. August 11, 2015

Nope, it’s not a mirage. A little Ferris wheel has been set up within sight of Coney Island’s mighty Wonder Wheel! For two days and nights, HBO’s new rock ‘n’ roll series Vinyl has transformed Surf Avenue, including Thor Equities’ long vacant properties, into a 1970s carnival. In prep for Tuesday night’s shoot, a portable Ferris wheel was set up on the West 12th Street lot across from Coney Island USA. The lot has been vacant since the Bank of Coney Island was demolished by Thor in 2010. A vintage sideshow bannerline featuring a gorgeous cavalcade banner by the legendary Fred Johnson was hung from the forlorn-looking Grashorn Building, Coney’s oldest, also owned by Thor. Historian Charles Denson shot these surreal-looking photos on Tuesday afternoon before filming got underway.

The HBO series from Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter is set to premiere in 2016. Surf Avenue businesses were reportedly paid several thou each to keep the lights blazing while the production company pulls an all nighter. What a bonanza! Too bad it’s only for a day and a night and the amusements can’t return for real to good ol’ Surf Avenue where they belong.

VINYL HBO Coney Island

Vintage sideshow banners emblazon Coney Island’s oldest building, the Grashorn, vacant since 2008. Photo © Charles Denson. August 11, 2015

The only use that the circa 1880’s Grashorn has seen since we started blogging in 2009 was as the Susquehanna Hat Company set for HBO’s Bored to Death (2011) and an office for the production company filming Men in Black 3 (2012).

The Jones Walk side of the Grashorn building has been vacant for several years, as ATZ reported in “The New Coney Island: A Tale of Two Jones Walks.” Why? A business owner who had leased a small stand on the Walk from Thor in 2008 told us in 2009 that the rent had tripled from $8,000 to $24,000. He declined the space and left Coney Island, never to return.

In the summer of 2010, Save Coney Island published renderings showing the potential of the building if restored, but their plan to create a Coney Island Historic District along Surf Avenue was crushed by Thor CEO Joe Sitt’s demolition of all but one of his historic buildings. Only the Grashorn remains. And apparently only HBO and Hollywood can afford the rent.

VINYL HBO Coney Island

Vintage sideshow banners on Coney Island’s oldest building, owned by Thor Equities. Photo © Charles Denson. August 11, 2015

Related posts on ATZ…

April 19, 2015: USA Network’s Mr. Robot is Filming Again in Coney Island

April 22, 2014: ATZ Review: ‘Famous Nathan,’ A Documentary by Lloyd Handwerker

November 15, 2012: ATZ Review: Coney Island Documentary ‘Zipper’ Debuts at DOC NYC

June 6, 2011: HBO’s Bored to Death Brings Susquehanna Hat Co. to Coney Island

Read Full Post »

enterprise style ride

Screenshot of New Enterprise-style ride set to debut at Luna Park Coney Island via TV Paese Mio

A new Enterprise-style ride called the Endeavor has been on Luna Park Coney Island’s map–“Coming Soon! Get ready for an experience that is out of this world” — and ATZ’s radar since the park opened this spring. But the newly built ride has yet to arrive in Coney and a photo of what it looks like has not been seen till now.

Thanks to a tipster for alerting us to a video tour of Italian ride factories including Zamperla’s Soriani factory, in which the ride is seen in action for about a minute from 2:59 in the video below. ATZ’s source says the new ride is en route to Coney Island, where it is expected to debut within the next six weeks.

What will ride aficionados have to say about the ride experience compared to the classic Enterpise and how long will the operator keep the ride in a vertical spin? The Enterprise, which first came out in 1972, was named after the Star Trek Starship. Manufactured by Huss, the spinning thrill ride was a fave at Coney Island’s Astroland from the 1970s until the early 2000’s when it was sold to New Jersey’s Casino Pier. Lake Compounce, Dorney Park and Strates Shows are among the owners of the 20 or so Enterprises operating in the U.S. today.

At New Jersey’s Meadowlands Fair, ATZ snapped photos of Strates Shows’ Enterprise. It is mesmerizing to watch and an intense thrill to ride. Jersey amusement ride blogger The DoD3, who has ridden both the Strates’ and Astroland Enterprises, had this to say in his review of the ride:

Once secured, the wheel begins to spin until it hits warp speed. Once riders are nice an plastered to the seat, the arm holding the wheel begins to rise up to 87 degrees (basically vertical.) Most Enterprise rides will keep the wheel vertical for less than a minute, however I’ve seen some go for longer. Strates’ Enterprise goes for at least a minute and a half. Astroland’s old Enterprise went for three plus minutes!

Related posts on ATZ…

June 16, 2015: Coney Island Businesses Racing to Open by Mermaid Parade Day Now Aiming for July

May 28, 2015: Coney Island Openings & Closings: Power Surge, Arcade, Rainbow Shops, Vintage Shooting Gallery

May 21, 2015: Coney Island Fireworks 2015: Every Friday Plus 8 Saturdays Including July 4

April 10, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Power Surge and Enterprise-Style Ride Set for Comeback

Read Full Post »

Sand Sculpting Contest

William Sandman Petrosino with his Sculptures at Sand Sculpting Contest, Coney Island. August 17, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Wow! This year is the 25th anniversary of Coney Island’s Sand Sculpting Contest. The free event will be held on Saturday, August 15, from 11am. If you’re planning to join the competition, we recommend registering now. Spots for some of the categories are already closed but you can still register as a group here. The event is open to amateurs and semi-professional sand sculpting artists of all ages and offers cash prizes as well as bragging rights. The Sand Sculpting Contest was founded in 1990 by Judi Orlando of Astella Development and is now run in partnership with Brooklyn Community Services.

Related posts on ATZ…

June 16, 2015: Coney Island Businesses Racing to Open by Mermaid Parade Day Now Aiming for July

May 21, 2015: Coney Island Fireworks 2015: Every Friday Plus 8 Saturdays Including July 4

April 20, 2015: Art of the Day: “Greetings from Coney Island” Blends Past & Present

November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places

Read Full Post »

Famous Nathan

Poster for Famous Nathan courtesy Film Movement. Photo of Nathan by Barton Silverman/ New York Times/Redux Pictures

Mazel tov! We’re happy to report that “Famous Nathan,” Lloyd Handwerker’s documentary about his grandfather, who founded Coney Island’s Nathan’s Famous nearly a century ago in 1916, is getting a theatrical run this summer. After premiering last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, the doc screened at film fests from Coney Island to Jerusalem. The film opens on July 17 for a one-week engagement at the Cinema Village in Manhattan, including some Q & A’s with the filmmaker, followed by a July 31-August 6 run at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. New York-based indie distributor Film Movement will release the Handwerker doc in North America across multiple VOD and digital platforms on August 4th, with a DVD release on September 29th.

Pieced together over a 30-year period, the film was a labor of love for the filmmaker, who was 17 when his grandfather died. It is also a remarkably candid family memoir. As we wrote last year after seeing the film at Tribeca: Nathan Handwerker, the founder of Nathan’s Famous hot dog empire, is a mythic figure in Coney Island history. The story of the young Polish immigrant working at Feltman’s and saving his salary to open a competing restaurant where hot dogs sold for a nickel instead of a dime is the stuff of legend. His grandson Lloyd Handwerker’s documentary “Famous Nathan” humanizes him and at the same time makes us see that he truly was larger than life.

The documentary is told through home movies, archival photos and footage, the filmmaker’s interviews with a colorful cast of characters including family members and former Nathan’s workers, and the voice of Famous Nathan himself. A 16-minute oral history, condensed from nearly four hours taped by Lloyd’s cousin David Sternshein when their grandfather was 82 is central to the narrative. The cadence of Nathan’s voice and his story reverberate in the imagination even after the film is over: “I want to go to America. I was dreaming about it.”

Famous Nathan directed by Lloyd Handwerker, July 17-23 at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th St, New York, NY. Q & A’s with the filmmaker will be held at the 7pm shows every night, plus the 9pm shows on July 17, 18 and 23, and at the 5pm show on Sunday, July 19.

Related posts on ATZ…

April 22, 2014: ATZ Review: ‘Famous Nathan,’ A Documentary by Lloyd Handwerker

April 8, 2014: Photo Album: Classic Chevrolets at Nathan’s Coney Island

March 6, 2014: Tribeca Film Fest to Premiere ‘Famous Nathan’ Doc by Grandson Lloyd Handwerker

March 24, 2013: “Notorious BOB” and Larell Marie Win Nathan’s Hot Dog Qualifier

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 370 other followers

%d bloggers like this: